The word is not the thing?

A follow up to my “Bueller?” post:

Last night six of the Democratic presidential candidates participated in a forum hosted by the glbt advocacy group The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and each had 15 minutes to field questions on issues important to the glbt community. Obama was up first, and the very first question was the one I posed in my post: Why should the church have any say in what constitutes legal marriage?

Part of Obama’s response, as reported by CNN:
Sen. Barack Obama said his view is that "we should try to disentangle what has historically been the issue of the word 'marriage,' which has religious connotations to some people, from the civil rights that are given couples."
"My job as president is going to be to make sure that the legal rights that have consequences on a day-to-day basis for loving same-sex couples all across the country ... are recognized and enforced," he said.

Right. Sooooo…if the government were to grant equal conveniences and responsibilities to all couples, why shouldn’t the government use the word “marriage” to describe that union? It’s already defined and clarified on the books, and there’s even precedence at the state level in Massachusetts. (Which, contrary to doomsayers, has not erupted in flames or broken off and fallen into the sea just because it lets same-sex couples marry.) Or, if we really want to disentangle, why not call all legal marriages, hetero or homo, by a term other than marriage? Nope. Obama thinks everyone should be treated the same, but call the same-sex version of the same thing “civil unions.”

Obama wasn’t alone. Clinton, Edwards, and Richardson also still cling to the idea that civil unions will be equal—separate, but equal—to marriage in all but name if one of them gets the presidency. To Edwards’ credit, he said he was wrong to say his faith prevented him supporting same-sex marriage, because personal faith should not dictate public policy. Then he said he would still call for civil unions anyway.

I can’t help feeling that this is some sort of political gamesmanship by the candidates. They know they need to not alienate anyone who might vote for them, but they know most in the glbt community will vote Democratic in the general election, so they’re not too worried about losing a lot of gay votes. (How can they be sure? The HRC invited the Republican candidates to have a similar forum of their own, and not one accepted.) So the Dems can tell the gays, “Look, if we win you’ll have the rights you want. Stop obsessing over what to call them” but without frightening away the “Gays are nice people and all, but marriage is blessed by God.” crowd.

It’s enough equivocation to get on a girl’s last gay nerve. Using a term other than marriage might be just a strategy to get the general public to swallow the idea, but it’s not a very principled one.


Though not completely comparable, I feel like the argument they are taking; in naming same-sex unions something "other" is kind of like saying "but blacks could ride the bus, they just had a different seat."

The purpose, as I see it, of having gay MARRIAGE or Civil Unions for all (leave the term "marriage" only to the churches and abolish it as a legal term) has two major purposes.

One: To grant freedom to all adults who find a loving partner.

Two: To integrate the public view of "gay" as "one of us." If the rights are deemed as an "other" then the people are viewed as an "other."

Similar to the need for androgynous language. Policeman is generic, policeWOMAN is an "other."

I'm not about to launch into a dissertation on politically correct language. That's a beaten down horrible horse.

But our common vernacular does move society to acceptance. And the term "marriage" is significant. It's the word we all think of when we think of two people engaging in a promise to love forever.

Anyway, my stance continues to be ABOLISH MARRIAGE. Let that term stand in the religious sector and let he government grant civil unions to all.

Bah! I get so disgusted with pansy-ass Dems. Obviously I'm gonna vote Democrat, but I wish one of them had the hootspa (sp?) to just say "this is stupid."

Cuz it is.